How does it all go so horribly wrong? Breaking up is never easy and I can only imagine the horror a divorce would put anyone through. At the end of the day, both Nigella and her soon to be ex-husband are left with nothing but aired dirty laundry. How tragic.
- TV chef testifies at fraud trial of former aides Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo
- She admits she has used cocaine ‘two times in her life’
- First was on ‘six occasions’ with her dying first husband John Diamond
- Second was after being subjected to ‘intimate terrorism’ by Charles Saatchi
- Saatchi told people restaurant row was about cocaine, but it was actually about grandchildren, she says
- She says Saatchi ‘threatened to destroy her’ after public restaurant spat
- Millionaire art dealer told her to ‘clear his name’ – then he spread allegations about her drug use, court hears
- Allegations were ‘false’ and ‘dedicated to salvaging his reputation and destroying hers’
- She confided in Elisabetta that he ‘shouted and swore’ at her
- Didn’t know how much more she could take – but DIDN’T plan to leave him
- Says she has endured ‘long summer of bullying and abuse’ since divorce
By Rob Cooper
The TV chef said she took cocaine six times with her late husband John Diamond after he found out that he had terminal cancer.
She then took the drug again in July 2010 when she was being ‘subjected to intimate terrorism’ by Charles Saatchi, Isleworth Crown Court heard.
The 53-year-old also admitted taking cannabis during the final year of her marriage to the millionaire art dealer without his knowledge – although her daughter Phoebe did know.
Miss Lawson said: ‘I have never been a drug addict. I’ve never been a habitual user. There are two times in my life when I have used cocaine.’
She made the admission as she gave evidence against her two former personal assistants who are accused of fraud.
She said taking cocaine with her late husband John Diamond, who died in 2001, ‘gave him some escape’.
Miss Lawson said at the time she was responsible for looking after him and the family as well as earning a living.
She said: ‘I did speak to a doctor of palliative care because I was troubled about whether I should let John continue, and he said just let him. And so I didn’t judge or begrudge.’
But she said claims that credit cards and envelopes containing white powder were left around the home she shared with Mr Diamond were ‘completely false’.
She admitted that Mr Diamond used rolled-up notes to take the drug.
‘John did but he carefully ironed them out,’ she said. ‘There is some misery you cannot escape.’
After her first husband’s death she did not take the drug again until 2010 when she felt ‘isolated and in fear’.
She said a friend gave cocaine to her three years ago and she took it again – but only once.
She added: ‘There was another time I took cocaine. In July 2010 I was having a very very difficult time.
Evidence: Followed by seven police officers, Miss Lawson faced a wall of press photographers when she arrived at court this morning to give evidence
‘I felt subjected to intimate terrorism by Mr Saatchi,’ she said, before adding that at the time she felt ‘isolated and in fear of…just unhappy’.
‘A friend of mine offered me some cocaine. I took it,’ she said. Miss Lawson said it ‘completely spooked’ her.
She said: ‘The idea that I am a drug addict or habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous.’
After the second episode she said she went to see a doctor.
‘I concluded that I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem, and I needed to attend to that and I did seek out a therapist,’ she added.
‘Since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man, I’m now totally cannabis, cocaine, any drug-free’
Miss Lawson said that she also ‘smoked the odd joint’ during the final year of her marriage to Charles Saatchi.
‘I found it made an intolerable situation tolerable,’ she said. ‘It’s a false friend and not a good idea.
‘I found the answer was in changing the situation and trying to create a tolerable situation for me and my family.
‘I have to say, since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man, I’m now totally cannabis, cocaine, any drug-free.’
Miss Lawson said Mr Saatchi was unaware that she was smoking cannabis and admitted she had not told him she took cocaine once during their marriage.
‘It was a one-off,’ she said. ‘I felt by going to my GP I didn’t feel a need to tell him.’
Miss Lawson told the jury that Lisa was aware she had taken cocaine in the past.
The chef claimed she did not know how to roll a cannabis joint but had instead asked others in her house to do so.
‘This was not behaviour I’m proud of,’ she said.
‘Get her, I don’t care what it takes’: Nigella accuses Saatchi of witch hunt against her and trying to ‘ruin her in any way’
- Miss Lawson was ‘punished by Mr Saatchi for going to a friend’s party
- Drug taking claims at trial were part of his plan of attack, she tells jury
Nigella Lawson accused Charles Saatchi of launching a ‘witch hunt’ against her and trying to ‘ruin her in any way’, as she gave evidence to the jury today.
The TV chef said she believes her ex-husband had a mindset of ‘Get her, I don’t care what it takes’ because he feels betrayed by her.
In reference to Mr Saatchi possibly suing her if she did not appear as a witness in this trial, Miss Lawson said it was ‘just another form of bullying’.
She said he is on a campaign to ‘ruin me in any way’, whether financial or otherwise.
‘I think he likes everyone to do what he wants,’ she said.
She added that she feels there is a ‘witch hunt’ against her, and that she is on trial with no counsel and ‘no rights’.
Miss Lawson told the court that Mr Saatchi ‘punished’ her on one occasion for going to a friend’s party.
She was asked by Anthony Metzer QC, representing Lisa, about Mr Saatchi’s email to her which contained drug-taking allegations. It said she was seeking a ‘pass’ so she could do what she wanted.
Miss Lawson said: ‘I had once made reference to a “pass” because I had been punished for going to a girlfriend’s birthday.’
She said she had not been beaten, but was left with ’emotional scars’, which were ‘very wounding and very difficult and of course we know how things accelerated’.
She described the allegations of her drug use in the email as being ‘part of his plan of attack’, and said she thought it was ‘very odd’ that he knew what was in the witness statements before they were published.
Miss Lawson said she was not a ‘habitual drug user and drug addict, or a snorter of cocaine for 10 years’.
Asked by Mr Metzer where these drug claims may have come from, Miss Lawson replied: ‘I believe some of it came from your clients and Mr Saatchi – not the three most reliable witnesses.’
Miss Lawson and Mr Saatchi divorced earlier this year after pictures appeared to show her being throttled by her husband outside Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, central London.
She said her husband ‘told everyone’ he was taking cocaine out of her nose at the time the photograph was taken.
But she claimed the incident was actually sparked when she commented on a person walking by with a baby.
‘I said “I’m so looking forward to having grandchildren”,’ Miss Lawson told the court.
‘He grabbed me by the throat and said “I’m the only person you should be concerned with”.’
Saatchi said he’d destroy me with drug allegations if I didn’t clear his name, says Nigella as she tells of ‘summer of bullying and abuse’
- Mr Saatchi shouted and swore at me during our marriage, said Nigella
- Anthony Metzer QC described her divorce as ‘unfortunate’ but she replied ‘I wouldn’t say unfortunate’
- Charles Saatchi ‘didn’t take part in family life’, Nigella claims
- He wanted both sisters to work over Christmas until Nigella got him to relent
Nigella Lawson told the court her ex-husband Charles Saatchi had threatened to ‘destroy’ her with drug taking allegations.
She accused the millionaire art dealer of telling her she must ‘clear his name’ by giving evidence at the trial of their two former personal assistants.
Taking to the witness stand, Miss Lawson, 53, accused Mr Saatchi of inflicting ‘a long summer of bullying and abuse’ on her after their high-profile divorce.
The couple split after photos emerged which appeared to show him throttling her outside Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, central London.
Lifting the lid on domestic life, Miss Lawson told the jury at Isleworth Crown Court that Mr Saatchi shouted and swore at her – and added that no one ‘can be in any doubt’ he has a temper.
She is giving evidence against her former aides Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo who allegedly went on lavish spending sprees with Mr Saatchi’s company credit cards.
The sisters, aged 41 and 35, are alleged to have spent £685,000 a month on the cards – but Miss Lawson said she had ‘no idea’ what the limits on the cards were.
She told the jury that on one occasion she confided in Elisabetta – referred to in court as Lisa – that Mr Saatchi had been ‘shouting and swearing’ at her.
The court has heard that the Domestic Goddess was dubbed ‘Higella’ and labelled a drug abuser in an email sent by her ex-husband before the trial.
Dressed entirely in black apart from a white collar on her shirt, she said that her ex-husband had threatened to ‘destroy’ her as she denied being an addict.
AS SHE TOLD THE COURT: NIGELLA IN HER OWN WORDS
On Charles Saatchi: ‘I don’t think that anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper’
On her ‘unfortunate’ split from Charles Saatchi: ‘I wouldn’t say unfortunate’
On the ‘choking’ pictures of her and Saatchi: ‘That awful incident at Scott’s’
On the allegations about her drug use: ‘False… dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi’s reputation and destroying mine’
On her aide Elisabetta: ‘She was a rock… but I believe her not to have a very strong moral compass’
On her aide Francesca: ‘A fantasist’
On her supporters: ‘They call themselves Team Cupcake’
On vanity: ‘I often do not look presentable. I don’t really mind about appearances’
On discovering Lisa and Francesca’s spending: ‘I was flabbergasted’
On moving in with Mr Saatchi around the time of their wedding, she told the barrister: ‘I think it was quite a bit before then. Sorry to shock you.’
On her upbringing being described as ‘liberal and bohemian’: ‘I fear my father (Nigel Lawson) might take exception to that.’
On Saatchi’s love of cash: ‘Charles kept a huge stash above the fridge. He didn’t like to use credit cards.’
On cannabis: ‘It made an intolerable situation tolerable. It’s a false friend and not a good idea.
On cocaine: ‘It spooked me.’
‘He (Saatchi) had said to me that if I didn’t go back to him and clear his name he would destroy me,’ she told the jury.
‘And so he started spreading allegations of drug use, particularly that awful incident at Scott’s.
‘And I felt that his way of getting these out was to use this case. And in September a new defence statement came out with some of the drug allegations which Mr Saatchi had mentioned to me in August.
‘I said “What drug allegations?” I said: “There aren’t going to be any”.
‘These allegations appeared in a PR blog that he had been dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi’s reputation and savaging mine.
‘They had been circulated on the internet, witness statement that would go to court and sent to every media outlet.
‘I felt that this would not become a fraud case and I would be put on trial, and that is what has happened.
‘I have been put on trial here in front of the world and forced to answer, and I’m happy to answer the allegations, in front of the world’s press.
‘And it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse and I found it just another chapter in that chapter.’
Mr Saatchi told the jury last Friday that he was ‘heart-broken’ following his divorce from Nigella and added that he still ‘adores’ his ex-wife.
Miss Lawson said she considered withdrawing her statement and not giving evidence in the case because she feared she would be put on trial.
Asked why she decided to take to the witness stand, Nigella said she felt it was her ‘civic duty’.
At one point when defence barrister Anthony Metzer QC described her split with Mr Saatchi as ‘unfortunate’, Nigella interrupted and said ‘I wouldn’t say unfortunate’, and only stopped when the judge warned her to stop talking.
When Mr Metzer asked if she moved into Mr Saatchi’s house after, or around the time of, their wedding, Miss Lawson said: ‘I think it was quite a bit before then. Sorry to shock you.’
And asked if she would agree that she shared a liberal and bohemian background with her late husband Mr Diamond, she said: ‘I fear my father might take exception to that.
She had to correct Mr Metzer for saying her team call themselves Team Nigella.
‘No, they call themselves Team Cupcake,’ she said.
The chef, who was flanked by seven police officers when she arrived at court, also told the jury that her ex-husband had a ‘temper’.
‘Yes, he did have a temper and I don’t think that anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper,’ she said.
Mr Metzer asked if Mr Saatchi was patriarchal and traditional, and Miss Lawson said he ‘didn’t like to take part in family life’.
Mr Metzer asked whether Miss Lawson ‘confided’ in Lisa about Mr Saatchi’s temper.
‘Yes,’ she replied.
The barrister then asked whether Miss Lawson discussed with Lisa that she was contemplating leaving her then husband.
‘It wasn’t so much a discussion,’ she said. ‘I may have said I didn’t know how much longer I could take this.’
Mr Metzer said: ‘You confided in Lisa that Mr Saatchi had been shouting and swearing at you.’
Miss Lawson replied: ‘I think she may have even heard some of it, yes.’
Mr Metzer asked Miss Lawson whether Lisa confided in her that Mr Saatchi had shouted and sworn at her too.
‘He did sometimes lose his temper. I’m not sure he did so at her,’ she replied.
‘I have to say it was not beyond impossible to imagine. But I don’t remember any such confidence.
‘I remember her saying he’s very much like my father.’
She told the court Mr Saatchi wanted at least one of the sisters to be working, but the pair were both given time off over the Christmas period.
‘I did explain to him that it was Christmas,’ Miss Lawson said.
Nigella felt ‘betrayed’ by former aide she ‘loved and trusted’ who is standing trial for credit card fraud
- Grillo sisters ‘lived ‘high life’ lavishing money on designer clothes
- Lisa Grillo was Miss Lawson’s ‘rock’ when her first husband had cancer
Nigella Lawson said that she ‘loved and trusted’ her aide Elisabetta Grillo and felt ‘betrayed’ when her alleged credit card fraud came to light.
Elisabetta – referred to in court as Lisa – and her sister Francesca allegedly lavished £685,000 on Charles Saatchi’s company credit card.
The pair lived the ‘high life’, spending the money on designer clothes and handbags from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood.
Miss Lawson told the jury she does not believe the Italian, who had worked for her for more than a decade, is a ‘bad person’.
She said: ‘It’s very difficult when you find out that someone you have loved and trusted could behave that way.
‘In my heart of hearts I do not believe Lisa to be a bad person. I believe her not to have a very strong moral compass.’
Miss Lawson, who referred to her multimillionaire ex-husband as Mr Saatchi when giving evidence, added that she was ‘flabbergasted at the extent’ of the alleged fraud.
She said that while Lisa was very close to the family, she became unhappy in 2004 and briefly left her job.
On her return she was allegedly rude and when Nigella challenged her, said: ‘She said I don’t care, it is just a job, I’m doing it for the money.
She added: ‘Lisa had been a stalwart and had helped me through a very difficult time when my first husband died.
‘I loved Lisa. My children loved Lisa. She came to me at a very difficult time in my life.
‘She was a rock. I would have done anything for her.’
Miss Lawson told the jury she once took £7,000 out of her savings to pay for Lisa to have her teeth fixed, giving her ‘incredible confidence’.
Miss Lawson said Lisa had been a ‘rock’ when John Diamond was terminally ill with cancer.
‘Sometimes I had to rush to hospital, she would stand in,’ she told the court.
‘She was my rock. I will never forget what she did for my family.’
Miss Lawson told the court that Lisa had become ‘like a member of the family’ while living with her but became ‘bitter’ later on.
‘She was not at all hardworking towards the end,’ she said.
‘Most of the time she was on Facebook.
‘I do not think her bitterness was towards me personally. I think it was towards her life.’
Miss Lawson told the court she believed the amount allegedly claimed by the defendants was ‘a lot higher’.
‘I was very, very careful not to say something was unauthorised if there was even a flicker of doubt,’ she said.
And she branded her sister Francesca, a ‘fantasist’.
She said: ‘Francesca was entirely different, she was, I felt, a fantasist. She would tell the children she was an international lawyer. She would make strange claims and was slightly detached.
‘Because I didn’t love Francesca in the same way her betrayal didn’t affect me in the same way, but I was left flabbergasted.
‘There was a strange sense of entitlement that crept up on her.’
The court heard that Lisa Grillo wanted to move out of the family home, and Mr Metzer put to Miss Lawson: ‘The reason she wanted to live in private accommodation is because she said she didn’t want to live with Mr Saatchi ever again?’
Miss Lawson replied: ‘Yes.’
‘I’m very trusting’ says Nigella who reveals Saatchi kept wads of cash in a ziplock bag on top of the fridge
Nigella Lawson told the jury that she trusts ‘everyone implicitly’ – while her husband kept wads of cash in a ziplock bag because he didn’t like credit cards.
Sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo allegedly spent £76,000 per month on cards issued by Charles Saatchi.
But Miss Lawson said she had ‘absolutely’ no idea what the limits on the cards were.
The TV chef told the jury that she was ‘incredibly close’ to her whole team of personal assistants.
‘I tend to trust everyone implicitly and often that’s not rewarded,’ she said.
Adding: ‘I’m still trusting actually. I refuse to become a bitter, untrusting person.’
Asked about how money worked in the household, she said that the cards given to the Grillo sisters were issued through Charles Saatchi’s company and, because he did not like to use cards himself, a large ‘stash of cash’ was kept in a plastic Ziplock bag on the fridge.
When Mr Metzer asked Miss Lawson if she had authorised the sisters to withdraw cash on the cards, she said ‘no’.
The 53-year-old mother said she would occasionally buy gifts for Lisa.
Miss Lawson added: ‘She might say, ‘Look at these shoes in Vogue’, and I would say, ‘You know, darling, let me buy you those shoes’.’
But she said it would be a particular gift.
She denied Mr Metzer’s claim that she would use credit cards belonging to Mr Saatchi to pay for exercise classes, manicures and pedicures.
‘I paid for them sometimes by cash and sometimes by cheque,’ she said. ‘Personal trainers don’t take credit cards.’
Mr Metzer asked Miss Lawson: ‘Do you have it in for Lisa now?’
She replied: ‘No, I so don’t.’
Questioned by Mr Metzer about her other personal assistants’ credit card statements showing expenditure at Annabel’s in central London, Miss Lawson said it referred not to the nightclub but to Annabel’s wine cellar ‘for Mr Saatchi’s wine’.
Mr Metzer mentioned sums including £1,368, and a separate sum of £1,300 which he said was spent in five days at the establishment.
‘Mr Saatchi likes to drink wine and he likes to drink expensive wine,’ she said.
Questioned by Mr Metzer about payments made on a Vodafone account and a private medical payment made by another assistant, Miss Lawson said she did not realise the other witnesses in the trial were ‘under suspicion’.
The court heard that a sum of £7,916.10 was spent in Shoreditch House, which Miss Lawson said she presumed was her birthday party.
Mr Metzer said thousands of pounds were spent in Shoreditch House on a separate occasion, which
Miss Lawson said she believed was another family birthday party.
Miss Lawson was questioned about money spent at upmarket clothing store Joseph of London on dresses bought for her by Mr Saatchi.
‘Mr Saatchi very generously said ‘I want you to have lots of them’,’ she said, adding that he ‘wanted to buy up every single one of those dresses’.
The court has heard that Miss Lawson and Mr Saatchi paid Francesca £28,000 a year while Lisa earned £25,000.
Yet Francesca’s spending between 2008 and June last year totalled over £580,000, with her older sister Lisa’s spree during the same timeframe hitting an estimated £105,000.
On average Francesca’s monthly outgoings on the credit cards were £48,000 while Lisa’s were £28,000.
Judge prevents Nigella being shown ‘choking’ photo in court as she pleads for testimony to end… but she’ll be back tomorrow for more
The judge prevented Nigella Lawson being shown the photo of her being ‘choked’ by Charles Saatchi outside a restaurant.
Judge Robin Johnson intervened as Anthony Metzer QC tried to show her the infamous picture taken outside Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, central London.
After a day giving evidence, Miss Lawson pleaded with the court: ‘Please don’t make this go on for two days.’
Judge Johnson said: ‘I’m not having photographs put to this witness.’
When asked again about the incident, Ms Lawson said she had already given a direct, ‘almost verbatim’ account of what happened, and said she did not intend to speak about it again.
Judge Johnson told Mr Metzer: ‘You do not have the right to string this out’, twice adding firmly: ‘Move on.’
However, she will return to Isleworth Crown Court tomorrow morning so that the defence can continue cross-examining her.
Addressing the jury, Miss Lawson said she believed Mr Saatchi intended to damage her interests, adding: ‘And look how it’s played out.’
The celebrity cook said she had hidden any drug use from her ex-husband, adding: ‘I could have weathered a conversation about it. I just wouldn’t have wanted to.’
Ms Lawson said that, despite changing her number and blocking communication with Mr Saatchi in her email account, she still received the email containing the drug allegations.
She said it came from a ‘completely different email address’.
It is alleged that between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2012, the Grillo sisters abused their positions by using a credit card for personal gain.
The pair, of Bayswater, west London, both deny the charge against them.
The case was adjourned until tomorrow.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk